I recently downloaded Angry Birds to see what all the hype was about and immediately realized that the demise of the American work ethic is the fault of Angry Bird and things like it.
The American population is allowed to play games, consume garbage celebrity gossip, and think that being social is posting on Facebook; with what appears to be no penalties for failing.
We allow our youth to believe that going to high school and college ensures their futures when in truth they don't even know how to work! Without the understanding of the value of work and how to work, an education is almost meaningless. I spent 17 years attaining a college degree and there was not one course on the value of work. Had it not been for my parents as role models, (both influenced by the great depression) I would not value work as much as I do today!
The concept of taking care of the family unit through effort and work is missing in from our culture. The basic core tenet of work ethic is being destroyed while people sit at home receiving paralyzing and hypnotic content via TV, internet, and mobile devices. The idea of being a productive working member of society is lost on delusions of becoming a rapper, ball player, TV reality star and/or dependent upon the government.
I was recently working with a large sales organization in New York, and one of the executives asked, "why is it that we can't find people that know how to work and when we do they are almost always immigrants?" I told him that I believe it is because the immigrant knows his/her survival is on the line! Americans don't have the same sink-or-swim thinking anymore but instead, believe they are entitled.
We don't teach work in this country as something valuable and many have come to believe that any job that requires hard work is beneath them. In my newest book, The 10X Rule, I demonstrate that the ultimate difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is knowing how much work it takes to create success. There are four levels of effort (work) a person or company can take:
3) Normal amounts
4) Massive amounts
Normal levels of work is the most destructive of the four because it deludes the worker into believing they are doing their job when normal levels of activity will NOT defy the counter efforts of competition, resistance to change, market conditions and unexpected events! It is only massive amounts of activity, 10X what you think, that ensure a person or company's success.
We spend more money on our school system than any other country in the world, yet there is not one course on the value of work. And it isn't just the kids with this problem but millions of people in the workforce as well. The moment the country experiences any serious economic contraction those operating at any of the first three levels of effort always find themselves at risk.
Consider the following statistics from the US Census: Since 1930, the number of employed people has doubled but the hours worked per employee have declined from 2,381 hours a year to 1,411. Entrepreneurs, as a percentage of the workforce, have gone from 30% in the 1930's to below 1% now. You would have thought the number of self-employed individuals would have exploded with the recent massive job layoffs, instead it declined.
The immigrant work ethic is work or starve to death - failure is not an option because the survival of the family unit is at risk. Immigrants work to ensure that the next generation won't have to pick strawberries or wash dishes.
A strong work ethic made this country great - it created the wealthiest nation on this planet by creating a massive middle class. This was a time when work was considered a duty, an obligation, even a responsibility. I suggest we spend more time instilling work ethic back into our culture and less time on Angry Bird, Farmville and mind numbing TV. Success is not an entitlement issue it is an issue of applying the right amount of effort (work).
Grant Cardone, NY Times Best-Selling Author and Sales Training Expert
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